Google News Tile for Wear OS 2 is shutting down soon

According to a recent update, Google is shutting down the dedicated Tile that provided Google News headlines on Wear OS 2 watches.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Back in 2019, Google massively overhauled Wear OS by introducing Tiles, each of which offered the most important tidbits from your favorite apps. One of the original Tiles to be introduced was for Google News, providing a glanceable view of the day’s headlines.

Image: Google

When Wear OS 3 arrived via the Galaxy Watch series and later the Pixel Watch lineup, the Google News Tile did not make the jump to the newer system. Offsetting that removal, it seemed in late 2023 that Google was poised to release a dedicated Google News app for Wear OS watches. However, over a year later, that app never surfaced despite the existence of a Play Store listing complete with screenshots.

All the while, though, the original Google News Tile continued working as normal for those using older watches that are still on Wear OS 2. Now it seems the Tile’s days are numbered, as the latest update to the on-watch Wear OS app (version 2.66.107) includes a notice of its shutdown.

<string name=”news_tile_deprecation_notification_title”>Google News support ending</string>

<string name=”news_tile_deprecation_notification_text”>Google News support on this watch is no longer available.</string>

While this particular removal is minor, this likely won’t be the last time that Wear OS 2 watches see a downgrade in capabilities. Last August, the company similarly ended support for Google Assistant on Wear OS 2. As newer watches gain adoption, it’s only natural that the older feature set will dwindle over time.

It remains to be seen what, if anything, this means for the arrival of a newer Google News app on Wear OS.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.

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